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(May 02, 2008) It was reported in the Danish press on May 10, 2008, that Minister of Justice Lene Espersen, bowing to pressure from outside the government, will remove the statute of limitations in the Criminal Code that currently applies not only to specified criminal acts under the code but also to torture, which is not mentioned. A new draft law will for the first time specifically refer to torture as a criminal act, and a provision is to be added to both the Criminal Code and the Military Criminal Code specifying "criminal liability for acts of torture will no longer be subject to the statute of limitations." (Danish Justice Minister Eliminates Statute of Limitations on Torture, BERLINGSKE TIDENDE ONLINE, May 10, 2008, Open Source Center No. EUP20080510364006.)

Adoption of the amendments would conform with recommendations made to Denmark by the U.N. Committee Against Torture in May 2007, that the country should review its rules and provisions on the statute of limitations and bring them fully in line with its obligations under the Convention so that acts of torture as well as attempts to commit torture and acts by any person which constitute complicity or participation in torture, can be investigated, prosecuted and punished without time limitations.

(Committee on Torture Considers Denmark: Conclusions and Obligations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN, Web site,
(last visited May 14, 2008).) Denmark ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on May 27, 1987 (Participants [in the Convention], Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Web site, (last visited May 14, 2008)).

Manfred Nowak, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, after completing a visit to Denmark on May 8, 2008, commented that the country "is the central player in mobilizing the international community by putting forth resolutions on combating torture every year," and "without question, the international community has much to benefit from Denmark's example," even though he also expressed certain reservations about its record on torture. (Denmark a Leader on Combating Torture, but UN Expert Has Some Concerns, UN NEWS CENTRE, May 9, 2008, available at

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Denmark More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 05/02/2008